Thursday, June 22, 2017

UFO Summer Challenge

Hello Fantastic Friends of Fabric.  I am beginning my Summer UFO Challenge and I hope you will consider joining me.  Every week I am committing to work on one UFO.  I may work on part of or finish something as simple as binding (not that binding is simple! but it counts as one thing to finish).

This week I have been on vacation with family.  We have been traveling through Maine and settled in a cabin on a lovely, spring filled lake.  I am surrounded by nature, beautiful sunrises, a crystal clear lake, singing loons, croaking frogs and a lot of BUGS!  But I also have this amazing view while I sew and its inspirational to say the very least.

Kate, Harry, Diane, Tyler and Lily contemplating the fish 

Lily guarding the cabin

a children's only fishing pond

Kate caught the first Trout

So now for my UFO project this week.  I brought several actually and when I arrived at the cabin I unpacked them all, except for one that has it's own, pretty box.  It has its own box because it is in pieces.  Measured, sliced and diced, bagged and labeled along with directions and thread.  (I was wondering where that spool of pink Aurifil was).  I saw the finished wall hanging in a LQS near my home and loved it, save for the fabric choices.  But then, that is always a personal preference for quilters.  

The quilt is called Mexican Stars Quilt Pattern and Annies carries it and a ton of other quilting items AND online classes! (I'll be reviewing those soon too).

If you check out the pattern on pinterest you will also see all kinds of different fabrics, colors and patterns used for this amazing quilt.

My LQS even had a class on making this really beautiful quilt, however, the teacher, while very talented at fabric art, was not interested in conveying how to make the quilt.  It was a frustrating experience and I ended up putting it up on a shelf.  I didn't even finish the class.

One of the things that really gave me pause was the use of folded squares into triangles that are placed in corners, and then folded back on the bias to create a curve.  But, one day, while surfing through the wonderful Facebook posts from one of my club sewisters in The Crafty Gemini Quilt Club, I happened upon a wonderful link to a video for a table runner.  It wasn't even in English!  But the person making the table runner did everything so concisely and orderly I could follow along and made this:

Fast forward 3 years.  3 years in quilting years is like 10 years of learning years.  I have attended several retreats, downloaded dozens of classes and watched hours of YouTube tutorials.  I am burning through computer giggle bites (whatever it's called) like there is no tomorrow and this is exactly the technique and tutorial I needed in order to tackle this beautiful quilt. I cannot find the original YouTube Tutorial but there are several now showing this very simple and versitile technique.  Some call it Cathedral Window, and while the Mexican Stars Quilt Pattern uses the technique it doesn't actually look anything like a cathedral window.

After 3 years of storing it with high hopes I read through the pattern and it all began to make sense.  The importance of Strip sets, Units and labeling the fabric with names such as dark, medium, light, background, print, etc.  It was no longer gibberish, foreign, gobbledygook!  It was Quilt-talk and now I speak that!  Here are some pics of the work I accomplished on my first UFO project of the summer:

So let's all get started.  Let's make a pinkie promise to work on just a little bit or a big bit of a UFO.  Even if you only do it once a week, post your progress, comment about it and cheer each other on.  You can post in comments here and on the Vintagekindagirl Facebook page.  I will continue to do the same.  

Happy UFO Summer!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Dritz Easy Grasp Pins - 4 out of 5 spools

In my post about sewing and quilting with arthritis I wrote about notions and supplies that caused the least amount of pain to hold, operate, use, etc. I hadn't found these pins until recently and I used them for the first time tonight while sewing a pillow together. I had to pin through several layers and while they do not slide as easily as the lighter weight, glass head pins by Clover and Little House, they handled the layers well and, most importantly, I experienced absolutely no pain gripping the pin, pushing it through fabric or removing! This is a big win for me as using straight pins causes a great deal of pain in my thumb joint (or lack thereof). Here is the link to get your own box: Dritz Easy Grasp Pins Size 24 60 pc. - $7.69 from: CreateForLess which might be another good online resource to add to your list of go-to vendors.

In addition I made a little video to show you the difference in size and ease of pushing through fabric.

You can watch the video on the Vintagekindagirl Facebook page.

I am giving the pins a 4 out of 5 spools simply because I wish they slid through fabric as easily as the Glasshead, smaller gage pins... but a vintagekindagirl can't have it all.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

YouTube Favorites: Channels and Individual Videos - Part 1

Hello Fabric Art Crafters! Here is the post talking about my YouTube Favs. We have all scoured the internet for information at one time or another and especially when we are learning to do something for the first time. For instance, installing a zipper pocket inside a tote bag. When I learned how to do that I felt INVINCIBLE! Well, as I learned how to sew and quilt and craft anything for that matter, I found myself going more and more to YouTube. For some of you this isn't new but I have to say YouTube opened up an entirely new world for this vintagekindagirl!

Some of you know how I first began to sew. It was during a very difficult time in my life and I needed a distraction. I dusted off my sewing machine (used maybe once) and decided to make pillowcases. That's when I discovered The Crafty Gemini! This was before her Quilt Club, Retreats, Fabric Line, Sewing Coop, Endorsements, line of templates/Rulers.... I mean, the girl ROCKS! Needless to say I stumbled onto a gold mine in the making. Because of her excelent teaching style I made my first of many pillowcases. After that I checked around for easy quilts. I stumbled upon Jenny Doan from the Missouri Star Quilt Company's Jelly Roll Race. Well I had a jelly roll in my pile of misfit fabrics (I had not idea how to shop for, match up, coordinate any fabric and when I bought the strips I didn't even know what I would use them for!) So, I began my first quilt and finished it in two nights. I had no idea what to do with it after that so I looked around the internet for long arm quilters, a term I came across somewhere in my searching. I found one a couple states away and contacted her. We picked everything from thread color to design over the internet and I mailed my two quilt tops off to her for quilting. I didn't realize that I could quilt them myself! I remember thinking to myself "this could get expensive if I keep sewing up quilts and then have to send them off for quilting. And, to top it off, with more researh I would have found a quilter down the street from me. I thought there were only a few in the US. Stop laughing... its true. I was green!

Well a lot has changed in the last four years and I have learned a great deal more because I have emersed myself into sewing and quilting and I have never looked back. Along the way I have discovered some excellent tutorials and channels on Youtube and I want to share them with you now.


The Crafty Gemini - Vanessa Vargas Wilson's own channel containing all of her tutorials from the very beginning through present.

Crafty Gemini Creates - Vanessa Vargas Wilson's collaboration with Missouri Star Quilt Company. A short series of tutorials that are quick and super fun.

The Midnight Quilt Show - Hosted by Angela Walters, Long Arm and Domestic Free Motion Quilting Expert and Teacher. You will love her down to earth style and philosophy about quilting. "Finished is better than Perfect!" She starts with her snacks and a pack of fabric pre-cuts from and turns it into an amazing quilt from piecing to quilting in one tutorial. Obviously it will take longer than one sitting to do everything she is showing us, but the point is it can be done!

Missouri Star Quilt Company - Jenny Doan is the Teacher and she is sweet, funny and a wonderful teacher. She also has guests on from time to time.

Debbie Shore - She's from "over the pond" in England. She has written several books and teaches in a very layed-back style. Sometimes she has her big goofy dog in the tutorials as well. She's adoreable and unpretentious, not brand loyal, just loves to teach you how to make small and unique items. Totes, Coin purses, pillows, all with some kind of unique twist. You can learn a lot of great things from her tutorials. And I love to listen to her speak!

Pat Bravo - Quick, no words, tutorials. All visual learning with sub-titles. These are well done and you can watch and sew. Just hit pause. They also come complete with downloadable materials. I love the paper pieced heart!

Art Gallery Fabrics - They have great, quick tutorials on different blocks and also DIY tutorials on fabric things like flowers or quilted artwork. Two of my favorites are the Spiderweb Block and the Jackknife block. If you click on Chanels under Art Gallery Fabrics or just do a search look for Mister Domestic. My fav by him is the Improv Quilt Block. LOVE IT! And you will love him. He is a hoot.

Birdcage and Thread - I haven't watched it yet but she just did an 8 series tutorial on the Sew Together Bag! I cannot rate it yet but I will certainly be reviewing it very soon.

Mark Montano - This gentleman does almost everything. No patterns! Party dress, refurbish old furniture, lighting, lampshades, cards, jewelry... he's amazing. He also has a book. I have done the black party dress and plan to do his recent lampshade tutorial. But there are sooooooo many more.

Melanie Ham - Different style than Vanessa or Jenny but definitely excellent. Box Pouch, Pencil Tote, Quilting, etc.

Shabby Fabrics - She has adoreable projects. The videos tend to be a little long but the projects are really nice.

Man Sewing - Rob Appell teamed up with Missouri Star Quilt Company to teach his style of "man" quilting. He's funny and has different and fresh ideas. - Silk Ribbon Embroidery. I enrolled in a silk ribbon embroidery class on in order to learn this technique to embellish my art quilts. While doing more searching I came upon the site on youtube. Wonderful tutorials for Silk ribbon embroidery and also basic embroidery, materials and hand dying.

There are a few more that I promise to bring up in future postings but the above consists of my top choices and go to YouTube Tutorials. I hope you find them helpful and inspiring and I would love to know what your top three channels are too. Let's spread the knowledge.

Happy Sewing

Saturday, June 3, 2017

At-Home Sewing Retreat

My "sewing room" is in our basement. Part of the basement is unfinished, cement floors and not very bright, while the other part, albeit small, is well lit, has a half bath attached and... is where the washer and dryer live. When cleaned up it's a pretty functional place. My cutting table sits in the unfinished part of the basement. A large, industrial repurposed drafting table, illuminated by an industrial hanging light which reminds me of the type of brightly lit area where a spy might be interrogated by his or her foe, deprived of sleep and water. But hey, it works for rotry cutting.

My sewing machines, ironing and fabric are in the finished part of the basement which also serves as the laundry separating area at times and it really messes with my creative mojo. When laundry is out of the way (done) and the space is uncluttered (is that even possible for a quilter) it frees up space in my mind to work. I don't know why that is but it is true for me.

The only problem is that I am away from ... well everything. My Fiance, when home, is upstairs so I have to run up and down to share my progress, check on dinner, say hello to my dogs, answer the door if need be... on and on. I get lonely down there too. I don't necessarily want to be bothered by all of the goings on but I just want to have someone to relate to while sewing and quilting.

A couple of months ago some of my quilting family gathered for a sew-along at one friends house in Florida. One traveled from Georgia, another from Virginia. Members of our little group followed along via Facebook messenger and a few video chats. It was wonderful to see the camaraderie and watch as their creations unfolded and each was cheered on by their sewing sister. Pictures posted of them working out the quilting math, choosing fabrics and being crazy. I rejoiced for them and secretly wished it were summer so I could have joined them.

On the way home one of my quilting sisters messaged me to ask about having our own sew-along... a mini retreat. I actually live closer to her than our friend in Florida, but don't have the luxary of time at the moment. I never even thought of asking her to drive up to my home because I thought it would be an inconvenience. Apparently it was not. She invited herself up and we picked a weekend in the very near future and our Sewing Hollow Retreat (The name given to my basement sewing retreat) was now afoot. I was glad she did the inviting because I knew it was not an inconvenience to her! Had I realized this sooner I would have had 10 retreats by now!

I secured a substitute for Friday so I could have three full days of sewing. Denise, Moon Dawg, arrived at 5 p.m. having survived the DC traffic and 95 north. God Bless her! She also brought her amazing hometown BBQ, beans and coleslaw, the best I've ever had. Having her pull ito my driveway was like watching Santa Clause arrive on Christmas. But instead of the ususal gifts, I received the gift of company.

We began with a plan. While catching up in the living room we hatched our plan of attack. Moonie wanted to work on Secret Sister Gifts for her upcoming retreats. This girl is busy! She has FOUR upcoming retreats in the near future and in all of them she participates in Secret Sister Swaps. She likes to make her gifts as much as possible and add little gadgets and notions as well. Quilters are very generous and love sharing the items they have learned to make or that they love. But, still, she had a lot of gifts to make. I wanted to finish my Darth Vader Quilt top and make a few things for my April Swap. Yes, April!!! I'm a little behind. They don't sound like lofty goals but let me tell you. When two sewing friends gather together for the first time it is a flurry of talking, giggling, staying up way too late and sometimes a glass of wine or two. Okay Three! Needess to say, we didn't finish everything we set out to finish but the camaraderie, the exchange of ideas, the sharing of ideas and fabric made for an amazing three day weekend for this vintage kinda girl!

Moving forward I would say that having a plan is definitely a must when having an at-home retreat with a friend/friends. After checking in with Moonie before finishing this post we both came up with a checklist of sorts to follow when having an at-home retreat:

1. Have a plan.
2. Have a plan B.
3. Snacks and beverages.
4. Internet and computer handy for quick reference.
5. Set up two ironing stations. I set up a small rotary mat and ironing station on a cart next to Moon Dawg's sewing area.
6. Be prepared to not sleep at all.

If you haven't had a friend over to sew with I hope you will soon. It was very rewarding, bonding and just plain fun! Our next Sewing Hollow Retreat will be in July. Our plan.... to prepare for our Crafty Gemini Sewing Retreat in August. Yep. We have to prep the pattern for a bag making class and sew up swap sistr gifts. I can't wait.

Happy Sewing.

Pictures of our crazy antics and the Darth Vader Quilt top. Still needs borders and sandwiched. I'm not showing Moon Dawg's work because it was for her secret sister swap and its a secret!

The picture of the Darth Vader Quilt was taken in my classroom because I needed to hang it up. I didn't have enough wall space in my Sewing Hollow.


Good Wonderful Easter Monday everyone and happy last day of my Spring Break.  Baltimore County Schools has taken away all of the traditional...